On occasion over the history of this blog, I’ve linked to stories about the abuse of children, particularly young boys used for sex, by elders in Afghanistan.
The New York Times’ Joseph Goldstein has woven all the threads together — cultural, social, political, military — into one must-read report.
But the American policy of treating child sexual abuse as a cultural issue has often alienated the villages whose children are being preyed upon. The pitfalls of the policy emerged clearly as American Special Forces soldiers began to form Afghan Local Police militias to hold villages that American forces had retaken from the Taliban in 2010 and 2011.
By the summer of 2011, Captain Quinn and Sergeant Martland, both Green Berets on their second tour in northern Kunduz Province, began to receive dire complaints about the Afghan Local Police units they were training and supporting.
First, one of the militia commanders raped a 14- or 15-year-old girl whom he had spotted working in the fields. Captain Quinn informed the provincial police chief, who soon levied punishment. “He got one day in jail, and then she was forced to marry him,” Mr. Quinn said.
When he asked a superior officer what more he could do, he was told that he had done well to bring it up with local officials but that there was nothing else to be done. “We’re being praised for doing the right thing, and a guy just got away with raping a 14-year-old girl,” Mr. Quinn said.
Village elders grew more upset at the predatory behavior of American-backed commanders. After each incident, Captain Quinn would gather the Afghan commanders and lecture them on human rights.
Soon another commander absconded with his men’s wages. Mr. Quinn said he later heard the commander had spent the money on dancing boys. Another commander murdered his 12-year-old daughter in a so-called “honor killing” for having kissed a boy. “There were no repercussions,” Mr. Quinn recalled.
I’d just add that we either get back into the business of of cultural imperialism, or we get out of Afghanistan. We’re winning no friends by protecting these pederasts, and we’re doing horrible things to our men and women in the field.
And — oh yeah — we’re protecting pederasts.
Isn’t protecting the locals from predators the very best of the US military’s many fine traditions?